Soccer star Lionel Messi becomes UN ambassador | DW Travel | DW | 10.04.2018
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Soccer star Lionel Messi becomes UN ambassador

The World Tourism Organization UNWTO has appointed football legend Lionel Messi as ambassador for responsible tourism.

Tourism Organization chief Zurab Pololikashvili and Lionel Messi (right) (UNWTO)

Tourism Organization chief Zurab Pololikashvili and Lionel Messi (right)

The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) said Monday it has named FC Barcelona's Argentine star Lionel Messi as an ambassador to promote responsible tourism. 

"During my travels I have had the opportunity to know other cultures and societies as well as other ways to see the world and this is very enriching," Messi said in a statement released by the Madrid-based United Nations body announcing his nomination.

"I am happy I can join this mission of promoting responsible tourism," the five-time winner of the FIFA World Player of the Year award added.

The organization is boosting its campaign to minimize the harm tourism can cause to the environment and historical sites. Barcelona is one of the cities in Europe that suffers particularly from overtourism.

 The UN body defines "responsible tourism" as tourism that "helps maximize the sector's benefits while minimizing its potentially negative impact on the environment, cultural heritage and societies across the globe".

Tourism Organization chief Zurab Pololikashvili said it was a "great honor" to have Messi promote "the positive values and benefits that tourism represents."Messi is a unique sportsman and an example of how willpower and constant work yield good results," he added.

fm/eg (UNWTO, AFP)

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